A ROW has broken out between two councillors from Oswestry Town Council – and escalated into an official complaint.

Councillor Jay Moore, who represents Gatacre ward, has complained about the conduct of former mayor Cllr Sandy Best, from Victoria ward, regarding comments made in public about his attire at meetings.

A public spat between the two broke out at a meeting on Monday night.

Cllr Moore now taken that complaint forward to the monitoring officer at Shropshire Council, and believes Cllr Best must move with the times when it comes to how a councillor represents their ward.

“[Monday] was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said. “Cllr Best has made a number of comments towards me and other councillors, who are also considering a complaint.

“Her comments to me on Monday were that only women should wear hats and I told her that I thought it was a sexist comment. She responded by telling me I looked like a ‘West Side Story reject’, which doesn’t make sense.

“Cllr Best has made similar comments about my dress and my tattoos when I have worn short sleeves, and she must understand that it is 2019 and people need to be tolerant of what others do.

“She also needs to understand that there were other councillors there, members of the public and press, and it was embarrassing for me.

“You can tell more about a councillor from their voting record than from than how they dress, and all councillors on Monday voted for youth services in Oswestry and only Cllr Best abstained.”

In his complaint to the clerk, Cllr Moore said: “Following the meeting this evening, I have decided that I would to log a formal complaint against Councillor Sandy Best for her continued disrespectful behaviour towards me within the council chambers.

“Cllr Best has made several comments based on my appearance, and at this evenings meeting she made comments in front of the entire chamber and the press that I found to be both sexist, unprofessional and inappropriate for a professional environment.

“Referencing me as “A West Side Story reject” and proclaiming that hats are only “appropriate for women” is not something that needs to be said to fellow councillors who are in the building to attend a meeting and conduct business in a professional manner.

“I would also ask that Cllr Best be mindful of her position on the council being equal to everyone else, and her responsibility to represent everyone (not just those she deems acceptable) within the town.

“A precedent must be set that we will not tolerate any bullying behaviour.”

However, Cllr Best was adamant she would not apologise for her comments, believing that Cllr Moore’s attire at meetings, including a baseball cap worn backwards, does not reach the standard she feels should be set.

She also felt that Cllr Moore’s approach to his role as a councillor should mirror the importance of the role.

She added: “I’m not apologising – I will be interested in what the monitoring officer will say.

“I raised my eyebrows when he walked into the meeting with a baseball cap on backwards. I have had other councillors comment on this too.

“All councillors have expectations of them and the standards they have to keep, and that includes how they dress. I would ignore when he walks in wearing a t-shirt but not when he walks in with a baseball hat.

“Cllr Moore has to remember that he represents all of the town, and not just young people – and I know he works hard for them – but he is a councillor to all of the town.

“He’s a representative of local government and the head of that government is the Queen.

“There are standards and that doesn’t include wearing a baseball cap. I won’t be apologising for it.”

Town clerk Arren Roberts said: “In my town clerk role, I can’t comment on individual councillor complaints. Any complaints are dealt with by Shropshire Council.”